Ten related concertina books, each unique, which reference the concept of DNA and our ancestry are now in the collection of the Beinecke Library at Yale University. The paper is Arches cover black with a horizontal pocket containing vintage photographs, documents and ephemera. Fragments of text from the colophon are written throughout the pages in graphite. The covers are red and white quilt squares over book board. Each book is 6” x 22.5” folded to 6” x 4”, with 8 pages, housed in a black archival box 6.75” x 4.5” with a tintype on the cover.
Information from the colophon reads:
Your body contains 50 trillion tiny cells, almost every one of them containing the complete set of instructions for making you. These instructions are encoded in your DNA, (deoxyribonucleic acid), a molecule composed of two chains which coil around each other to form a double helix.
In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. There are 23 pairs of chromosomes, one set inherited from the mother and one set from the father, Twenty-two of these pairs look the same in both males and females. The 23rd pair, the sex chromosomes, differ between males and females. Females have two copies of the X chromosome, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.
Chromosomes are further organized into short segments of DNA called genes. Each person has the same set of about 20,000 important genes. The genetic information contained in the DNA is called the genetic code.
The DNA molecule carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of humans and all known living organisms. Over time DNA collects mutations, which are then inherited. By comparing this inherited information, geneticists can infer our evolutionary history and provide clues to a person’s ancestry.
This series of books uses vintage materials to evoke the memory of past generations. As unique as we each are, our ancestry has much in common.